We now know that Sunderland, at the very least, will go the previously unimaginable period of 364 days without a win on home soil. We have only two more opportunities to prevent going through the whole of 2017 without a home victory. If you really digest those statistics, the more mind boggling the whole thing becomes.
Mind you, we’ve still got some way to go to match Cowdenbeath’s 38 game British record - so every cloud, and all that…
It may come as a surprise to you that my thoughts this week have not been dominated by our inability to win at the Stadium of Light, nor have I dwelled over the fact that we have now conceded at least three goals in a game for the sixth time this season.... or that we have kept only one league clean sheet.
Even though it is still early on in the month of December I, like many others, already have one eye on next month’s transfer window.
If Chris Coleman was unsure as to what exactly he has let himself in for since taking the job on Wearside, Saturday’s self-destruction will go a long way to painting a decent picture of our current frailties and the hugely problematic situation we find ourselves in.
The feel-good factor from the win at Burton has quickly evaporated. Coleman has already touched on what he thinks our budget will be next month, without putting an exact figure on it of course. Don’t expect the board to do that either. What is apparent is that it will once again be very limited, and Coleman will have to use his contacts, connections and knowledge of players to pull one or two rabbits out of the hat.
I have faith in the man to get it right.
Danny Ward has been mentioned. Ben Woodburn has been spoken about, along with Alex Gilliead of Newcastle and Jamie Robson from Dundee United. Yesterday, reports surfaced in the local press stating that Bolton’s Gary Madine has come into Chris Coleman’s thinking as he assesses our attacking options. And let’s face it; it would be a hammer blow if Bournemouth did indeed exercise their right to recall Lewis Grabban next month.
The aforementioned players are not household names by any stretch of the imagination, but I can see the reasoning behind considering each and every one of them, especially Ward. He excelled at Huddersfield last season, and is a player Coleman knows and presumably trusts. Plus, our goalkeeping situation needs immediate attention. These are the types of players the club will be looking to recruit. Gone are the days of the shelling out of big fees on the wrong players who joined us for the wrong reasons, but I guess that’s what got us into this mess in the first place.
We will be operating on the slimmest of budgets in this coming January window. It would be interesting to press Coleman a little further on potential outgoings, in particular whether any incoming funds from any sales of the likes of Lamine Kone or Didier Ndong will be made available to supplement further acquisitions.
If we can somehow move on Jack Rodwell this winter then that would also be a welcome bonus. We are all patently aware of the financial scenario at the club, but surely some lessons must have been learned from the summer. Should we overcome Middlesbrough in the FA Cup, the £67,000 prize money generated would at least pay Rodwell for one week.
It’s not funny at all really is it?
Even the most ardent of supporters would have to accept that spending a paltry £1.25m on the squad and accepting a major upturn in fortunes was highly unlikely.
I think it is an absolute necessity to loosen the purse strings slightly so that our new manager can indeed add a sprinkling of talent to our playing personnel. We’re not asking for millions, but we need the funds to make a real difference to our current plight.
Granted, this squad should not be sitting second from bottom in the table with a measly 14 points to their name at this stage of a league campaign, and I believe Chris Coleman knows that too. Despite that, the squad needs an injection of new faces, and an injection of quality.
We need to sign hungry players who want to be here for the right reasons, and obviously who can make a difference on the pitch as they cross that white line every Saturday afternoon.
Some who are currently making up our first XI aren’t doing the business - they need taking out of the firing line.
Incoming players who are a real threat to their starting spot need to come in to increase the competition for places and inject some life into this squad. The powers that be at Sunderland AFC are quickly running out of excuses not to invest. They need to show everyone connected with the club that they are backing their new manager and they have to trust him to get it right.